Lowest February Bar Pass Rate Since 1951


Looks like California’s law students need to hit the books. According to an article posted by Cheryl Miller on The Recorder, a mere 27.3% of would-be lawyers passed California’s bar exam in February. Based on records dating back to 1951, this is the all-time lowest pass rate according to test data released this month.

The low scores reflect a national trend for the winter sitting of the exam. The average score on February’s multi-state bar exam fell 1.3 points from 2017’s scores to 132.8. This makes it the lowest average score in over a decade, and marks the fourth year in a row the month’s average score declined.

First-time test-takers of the February 2018 exam continued to do better than repeat test-takers with a 39% pass rate. Graduates of American Bar Association-approved law schools from California performed the best of any group, with 46% passing.

California Bar Exam Results July 2017

California Bar Exam Results

Nearly half of all prospective lawyers who took the California Bar Exam in July passed this year. 49.6% of test-takers passed the exam, up from 43% last year, which was the lowest pass rate in about 30 years, according to The Recorder. 62% of first-time applicants and 28% of repeat applicants passed the exam.

In total, 8,545 people took the exam and 63.2% were first-time applicants. The July 2017 exam was the first time the test has been administered in a two-day format. Exams are held in February and July each year.

A pass list from the exam was published on the CA Bar’s website yesterday. More detailed statistics about examination results will be available in approximately three weeks. If you’d like more information about the passage rates and statistics of this year’s exam, please CLICK HERE to see the published results from the California Bar.

Congratulations to the 4,236 applicants who passed the exam this year!!


The State Bar leaves it up to the Supreme Court to decide on reducing the score on bar exam

A few days ago we posted a blog about the possibility of the California State Bar lowering the minimum passing score on the California Bar Exam.  Now it looks like they have shifted the decision to the California Supreme Court to handle.

The California State Bar committee, which includes deans from several law schools in the state, have offered the justices a range of choices on the topic from leaving the score as is – 144 – to lowering it to 139.

A Bar commissioned study came to the conclusion that the score could be lowered to 141 and still ensure that those who have passed will have the minimum standards of competency to practice law. This is still a hotly issued debate and the California Supreme Court has not made any comment on the topic.

Read the full story from The Recorder here.


California Bar Committee Endorses Lowering Exam Pass Score

Currently the score for a “pass” on the California State Bar exam is 144 but a California State Bar committee, which included deans from many California law schools, recommended that it be lowered to 135.  The Law School Counsel, which includes many California law school officials and California State Bar Examiners, also endorsed lowering the score.

135 is the most common cut score in other states.  Many deans feel that the higher pass score in California puts California test takers at a disadvantage compared to students in other states, while others argue that the higher pass score produces top-notch attorneys who are more likely to adhere to ethical guidelines.

You can read more from The Recorder here.

How Did California Schools Fare on the Bar Exam?

Every year recent law school graduates head out into the world, but first they must pass the California Bar Exam.  According to The Recorder, only five of 21 California law schools accredited by the American Bar Association had at least 75% of their graduates pass the Bar Exam in July. This is a benchmark rate –  not meeting it could spell trouble for law schools.

The overall pass rate of this summer’s exam was actually the lowest for a July sitting in 32 years.

Unfortunately, only 43% of California Bar exam takers passed. Exam takers who attended an ABA accredited school did better as a group with 62% passing the exam. Test takers from UC Irvine, UCLA, Stanford University, USC and UC Berkeley were the only group that met the 75% passage benchmark.

Read the full story here.